My mom just sent me the news. And my stomach turned. The news we were expecting, waiting for, dreading, and proud of. And I'm swelled with a mixture of emotions. I'm really proud of how my brother has excelled in his work with the National Guard. He's good at it, and he's been noted at the top of his class more than a few times. Selfishly, I don't want him to go to Iraq. Selfishly, I feel sad for my little girls who will desperately miss their uncle and for my mom who will endlessly worry for her only son. I feel encouraged that only two soldiers were lost in the last round of soldiers who went to Iraq from Oregon, but I know to their families, two doesn't feel like "only". It feels like everything. I'm sad, I'm worried. But I am also very very proud.
You see, he's my baby brother.
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Eastern Oregon Guard troops to deploy for Iraq in November
By Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian
April 26, 2010, 7:22PM
It's official: Oregon Army National Guard soldiers will be among the
last troops to serve in Iraq. On Monday, the Department of Defense
ordered 600 troops based in La Grande to deploy in November.
They will serve during "Operation New Dawn," the final phase of the
Iraq war scheduled to begin Sept. 1 when American troops shift from
combat and intelligence into a role of advising and assisting the Iraqi
forces, said a Pentagon spokesman.
Under President Barack Obama, the number of U.S. troops serving in
Iraq are scheduled to drop from 95,000 today to 50,000 on Sept. 1, and
to withdraw completely from Iraq by Dec, 31, 2011.
Despite the mission's new name, the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Cavalry
Brigade will be performing an old job -- guarding supply convoys. Last
week, nearly 2,700 fellow Oregonians from the 41st Infantry Brigade
Combat Team returned to the state after 10 months providing convoy
security across two thirds of Iraq and other security operations. Two
Oregon soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb during the tour.
The 116th soldiers are based in Hood River, The Dalles, Woodburn,
Redmond, La Grande, Baker City, Ontario, Hermiston and Pendleton. They
are tank and infantry units, best known stateside for fighting
wildfires. They will deploy as part of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat
Team, in Boise. About 230 members of the battalion will remain at home.
More on the 41st
Read past coverage by The Oregonian on the deployment of Oregon Army
National Guard troops from the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The La Grande-based unit last deployed for "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in
2004. Three-quarters have served at least one tour, said battalion
commander, Lt. Col. Phillip Appleton.
He said the troops will train in Idaho beginning this summer, then move
into intensive training at Camp Shelby, Miss., after formally
mobilizing on Sept. 17. They are expected to spend 10 months in Iraq.
"The most important thing is that employers and families continue their
support to make the soldiers' transition easier," Appleton said.